Deep Purple 'Machine Head'

MACHINE HEAD was the subject of a 50 minute documentary in the third 'Classic Albums' UK TV series. The shows take an album apart, interview the musicians and producer, and tell the story behind it. All (yes, all) members of Mk 2 took part in interviews. Blackmore refused to play his riffs on the Strat, and did them on acoustic guitar instead.

The TV showing. ITV, November 27th 2002
(Isis Production)

Well worth waiting for then - an hour which seemed to really fly past! It was just so good to have a programme talking mostly about the music instead of all the incidental stuff. It always seems so much more grown up than everyone bitching about who left when and why. Like us you probably had to just dig out the remastered Machine Head album and give it a good blast straight after watching the show, such was the buzz. There will be more on the show in the new issue of DTB.


This dvd title is available from the dpas online store

the origins of the clips


The DVD contains the 50 minute televised edition plus 34 minutes of bonus material, comprising more interviews and contemporary clips (including two complete vintage promo films, meaning that every Deep Purple promo, both good and bad, is now available on DVD). Oh, and it's all presented in 16:9 ratio widescreen format!

The main programme goes through Deep Purple's early career in the opening few minutes, before getting down to talking about individual tracks.

'Highway Star' sets the tone. The musicians plus producer Martin Birch talk us through the song's origin and construction, with comments thrown in from rock journalists Chris Welch, Chris Charlesworth, and Brad Tolinski. Lord demonstrating his solo is perhaps the main thrill, and what a thrill!. To accompany the interview material, there are a number of vintage mk2 clips. The researchers could have taken the much easier option of showing reunion era performances. Thankfully they didn't. The embryonic 'Highway Star' from Beat Club is shown in short blasts, just as well, as the carefully constructed organ and guitar solos mentioned here were still to be worked out. Incongruously, Gillan's improvised lyrics (eg. "like Steve McQueen, Mickey Mouse and Brigitte thingy..") are played as the band praise his clever word play on the song. Someone taking the piss?

It's not easy to see 'Smoke On The Water' afresh, but this dvd really brings it out looking brand new. Glover sat at the mixing desk bubbling over with enthusiasm at Ritchie's rhythm work is a joy to behold. And the accompanying 1973 clips from Hofstra University are superb.

The rest of the disc is a constant pleasure... 'Pictures Of Home' with the idea for the riff said to come from something Ritchie heard on Bulgarian Radio (Jon Lord: "which he had built into his hat"), and the mutual admiration expressed for each band member's contribution to the track. Fantastic. 'Space Truckin': originating from a Blackmore finger exercise based on the Batman theme, 'Never Before' with Gillan's spinetingling double tracked mid section isolated in the mix, and finally 'When A Blind Man Cries', a heartfelt omen of the unhappiness that was building, which would soon fracture the group.

The extra material contains nothing below the quality standard of the main feature; with plenty of unlisted surprises...

The bonus track titles, plus a description of the contents:

1/ 'No Smoke Without Fire'
Seven further minutes about 'Smoke On The Water', chiefly concerning the origin of the title. We also get to see the last two (absolutely sensational) minutes of the track live at Hofstra University, with Blackmore headbanging like a wild man to Lord's organ solo. (The track was edited for its original broadcast on ABC In Concert in 1973, sacrificing a verse plus the guitar solo).

2/ 'The Beast'
Five minutes on Jon Lord's contribution to the band's sound, including hair-raising demonstrations of the effects of plugging a Hammond organ straight into a Marshall!

3/ 'Make Everything Louder..'
Three minutes. Amusing anecdotes concerning band members surreptitiously fiddling with the mixer controls to boost their personal contributions to the album!

4/ 'Black Night'
Six minutes. The story of its alcohol fuelled conception, plus the complete 1970 de Lane Lea promo film! (not listed on the package). It's from a scratchy old print, and the soundtrack has glitches, but hey, result!

5/ 'Keep On Space Truckin'
Four / five minutes. Purple heaven. The first two minutes of 'Space Truckin' live at Hofstra University, then Lord gives a tour of the Hammond, enthusing about the fun of playing and extending the track.

6/ 'Maybe Leo's Off Beat'
Two minutes on the origins of 'Maybe I'm A Leo', demonstrated on bass by Roger Glover. (Which adds up to six out of seven tracks mentioned. Sadly nothing on 'Lazy').

7/ 'Break A Leg, Frank'
A short one minute clip explaining Gillan's ad lib at the end of the remixed 'Smoke On The Water'.

8/ 'Roger's Machine Head'
Another one minute clip, Roger talking about the origin of the album's title.

9/ 'Never Before' Original 1972 Promo
The full track. A frustrating yet fascinating piece of film from early 1972, showing Deep Purple live in full flight, cut to synch vaguely with the studio version.

And that's yer lot. The dvd box claims that the running time is '100 minutes approx'. In fact it clocks in at under 85 minutes. But what an 85 minutes....
In short, if you have any interest in Deep Purple mk2, buy it!

review: David Browne

Q. Will I be able to play The Machine Head DVD on my DVD player?
A. The DVD has been issued as NTSC and PAL, regions 1 & 2. So you shouldn't have any problems with it. It's even PS2 compatible.


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